After listening to the Seton Hall tape I just reviewed, this Poughkeepsie show released on Fanatic is a very disappointing recording. Especially the first part of the tape is very rough to listen to. Not just because of the tape slur, but also because of a very muddy and distant sounding band. The guitars hardly break loose on this recording and Max has traded his drums for card board boxes again. Even while the sound picks up after a while, Springsteen and the band continue to be playing somewhere at the end of a tunnel. Which really is too bad, because Joe Kivak did capture a very good show again here. Unfortunately that show hardly shines through on this tape. I love Fanatic records and most of what Rob puts out on it, but with recordings like these Rob reminds us why he picked that name, this really is for the fanatics, for the collectors who are hell bend on collecting every show. I guess they can't all be winners and even with a disappointing release I applaud the whole Fanatic team on their project trying to take you on a journey along Springsteen's many glorious shows of the period.
For fanatics there are quite a few redeeming qualities to his recording. First there is that fantastic "Mona" leading into "She's The One", that really makes you wish this tape was much better. This is one of those versions where Springsteen ad-libs the lyrics, making "Mona" rougher and rowdier than she used to be. There's a rare performance of "Action In The Street" featuring those bon vivants, the Miami Horns. Action indeed, can you say "Tracks II" Springsteen? The absolute high light of this show though is the interlude in "Backstreets". Springsteen's legal battles with Mike Appel were still dragging on at this point causing Springsteen to put everything into this tale of betrayal. The words may be hard to make out through the mud of the tape, the emotions isn't. When Springsteen screams "You lied" you can feel his frustration and anger, the barrier between his emotions and yours seem to break down as he drags you into his world. Powerful stuff and quite frankly, I sometimes think the interlude was never better than in this period when that feeling of betrayal was still fresh. If this doesn't move you, there has to be a hole in your soul.
"Action in the Street"
Download the full show in mp3 here
Recording: 2 out of 5
Show: 3,5 out of 5
Artwork: 4 out of 5